Gold Rally: How Long Can It Go?

Several market analysts issued notes Monday that are heavily bullish on gold, arguing both macroeconomic considerations and trade flow information are likely to keep driving up the price of the yellow metal to fresh 2012 highs.

Noting the likely expansion of the Federal Reserve's balance sheet in coming months as the U.S. central bank engages in a fresh round of monetary easing, as well as various technical indicators that suggest the price of gold could be going up further soon, strategists at UBS wrote that recent developments "set the stage for the continuation of the precious metals rally."

Gold rallied considerably last week, breaking through the highly significant $1,700-per-ounce price ceiling and finding a technical floor around that level.

UBS notes that, while there are risks to assuming further monetary easing will drive up the price of gold significantly as "from a QE perspective all the price action is dominated in the first half of this trading time frame," there are upcoming political decisions in the U.S. that will likely end up prompting a rally into safe metal-based assets seen in the past.

Regarding the upcoming Congressional fight about the debt ceiling, "the UBS view, which is in line with consensus, is that politicians will likely try to prevent the fiscal cliff from happening, as the electorate puts more weight on economic growth rather than the government budget. This means that the debt ceiling is likely to be extended yet again, but this increases the likelihood of a ratings agency action and consequently hurt the dollar, all factors which were gold positive last summer."

UBS is raising its one-month gold forecast to $1,850 per ounce, from $1,700 previously.

Also jumping in with the bulls is Barclays, where analysts specifically highlighted trade flows as a possible source of support for further upward price movement in specie.

Noting the rally in gold hasn't occurred on low volume, but instead has seen large purchases by exchange-traded product funds, analysts at the bank noted "it bodes well that the recent rally in prices has been accompanied by an increase in longer term "sticky" demand, as well as speculative interest."

Barclays raised its price forecast to $1,665 per ounce for the rest of the quarter and to $1,672 per ounce for the 2912 average.

Contracts on gold for October delivery, the reference contract, recently traded in Chicago for $1,731.90 per ounce, down 0.35 percent from the previous session's settlement price

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